[guest post by JVW]
It was a historic 92nd Academy Awards with a first Best Picture recipient not in the English language in Parasite adding an element of surprise to a largely predictable winners list. There was something historic in the ratings for the 2020 Oscars too — a historic low.
[. . .]
[T]he ceremony, which clocked in at 3 hours and 36 minutes — up from 3 hours, 23 minutes in 2019 — could not repeat last year’s ratings turnaround, drawing 23.6 million total viewers and a 5.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, based on Nielsen’s Live+Same Day Fast National ratings ordered by ABC. That is down sharply, -20% in viewers and -31% in the demo ,from last year’s 29.6 million viewers and a 7.7 adults 18-49 rating. It also is down double-digits from the Oscars’ previous smallest audience, 26.5 million in 2018.
Overall, the Oscars was the most watched entertainment special since last year’s ceremony, topping the Grammy Awards and Golden Globes in total viewers. Other broadcast networks didn’t try to compete Sunday, with all airing repeats.
The Academy of Motion Pictures, its fans, and ABC will probably be quick to blame the phenomenon of “cutting the cord” and streaming content over the Internet for the decline in ratings, but that alone can’t explain a one-fifth drop in viewership since last year. And sure, not having a superhero movie nominated — no, I’m not going to count The Joker — might have turned off a certain type of viewer. But will any honest voices in Tinseltown give consideration to the hard question of whether the predictably smug left-wing politics on display every single year is turning off casual viewers?
You would think that a group of multi-millionaires (and some billionaires) could congregate for one night to celebrate achievement in their industry without resorting to the shallow virtue-signaling of their complete wokey-woke-wokeness, but you would be wrong.
[UPDATE] – Made a post-publication edit to the headline to add the words “Oscar Ratings” so that the topic of the post is immediately clear.
[UPDATE II] – This cracks me up. During the Oscar telecast, Natalie Portman’s cape featuring the embroidered names of women directors who had not been nominated for an Academy Award made the rounds. One observer pointed out a slight contradiction between Ms. Portman’s woke feminism and her own actions:
Natalie Portman’s production company has only ever hired 1 female director (her name was Natalie Portman) https://t.co/DRUVM1oezW
— Angela Morabito (@AngelaLMorabito) February 11, 2020
I looked it up because I was afraid it was too good to be true, but she’s right: IMDB lists Natalie Portman as a producer on ten different movies — six times as an executive producer to boot — yet zero of those movies feature a female director. The IMDB page for her production company has only one of eleven films directed by a woman, Ms. Portman herself. But hey, virtue was signaled.